Al Jazeera, a Qatari monarchy-owned news outlet, sparked controversy with its coverage of the situation in India. In an Instagram post, the outlet claimed that Muslims in India have been subjected to violence for decades, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi making things worse.
The post also alleged that Artificial Intelligence software was used to generate images that furthered the false narrative of “Muslim victimhood” and “rising Islamophobia” in India.
The organization used Artificial Intelligence software to generate scintillating images to further the false narrative of ‘Muslim victimhood’ and ‘rising Islamophobia’ in India.
In an Instagram post, the Qatari monarchy-owned organisation wrote, “Muslims have been subjected to violence for decades, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has only made things worse. Using Artificial Intelligence software, it generated scintillating images to further the false narrative of ‘Muslim victimhood’ and ‘rising Islamophobia’ in India.
The post cited several instances of violence against Muslims in India, including the 1992 destruction of the 16th century Babri Mosque by Hindu nationalists, which led to nationwide riots and the death of about 2,000 people, mostly Muslims.
Another example was the 2002 train fire in Gujarat state, which was blamed on Muslims, leading to the death of 59 Hindu pilgrims. Modi, who was the head of the state at the time, was accused of doing little to stop the violence.
In 2019, Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party enacted a citizenship law, which was seen as discriminatory against Muslims. According to Human Rights Watch, the ensuing riots in New Delhi over that law killed 53 people, mostly Muslims, and injured over 200 by Hindu mobs.
The post also claimed that propaganda films like “The Kashmir Files” demonize Muslims, a film that Modi endorsed. Today, mosques are often attacked, like the 300-year-old one in Uttar Pradesh that was razed for a highway.
Al Jazeera’s coverage of the situation in India has been criticized by some for downplaying violence and encouraging radicalization in the process. The use of Artificial Intelligence software to generate images that promote a particular narrative is also a cause for concern.
The situation in India is complex, with fault lines running deep between religious communities. However, what is clear is that violence and discrimination against any group cannot be tolerated. It is important to acknowledge the suffering of all communities affected by violence and work towards creating a society that is inclusive and respectful of all religions.
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